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The Crompton Corporation
Researches its Past
Courtesy of the Crompton Corporation
This article appeared in the September/October 2003 issue of the Crompton News. Bill Sigworth of Crompton Corp., a Middlebury, Connecticut, Corporation, has been researching the Alembics I and II which played a large part in the early days of the company’s development. The Alembic I, pictured above, was a standard Glasspar G2. The Alembic II was a Series II Woodill Wildfire, body by Glasspar, which the company drove cross-country for advertising.
The Alembic II shown above was chocolate brown and had its name on the side, as did the Alembic I. The Alembic I was a light green Ford flathead-powered, and may have had the Glasspar logo on the nose. It was driven around the plant until it was flood-damaged in the storm of ’55 when the Naugatuck River overflowed.
The whereabouts of these two pioneer cars is unknown. One thing that is known is that Bill Tritt, Glasspar, The Naugatuck Chemical Company and its wonderful Vibrin resin made automotive history.
As the print in the Crompton article above is hard to read,
here is the text:
During the Korean War, a West Coast prototype sports-car maker named Bill Tritt was having difficulty obtaining polyester resin for fiberglass car bodies. The Naugatuck Chemical Company (NCCO) came to the rescue, sending him plenty of Vibrin resin – and a request for one of his early sports cars, the Glasspar G2. NCCO, a division of U.S. Rubber Co. (later Uniroyal, Crompton & Knowles and Crompton), wanted to use the car to promote its resin product to the Detroit auto industry. It displayed the car – dubbed the Alembic I – at the National Plastics Exposition in Philadelphia in March 1952.
When Chevrolet engineers became interested in the body material, NCCO Vice president of Sales Earl Ebers showed the Alembic I to GM in Detroit. GM’s legendary chief stylist Harley Earl was impressed with the shape of the car and the possibilities of glass-reinforced plastic body material. This encouraged him to speed up his own sports car work, and 15 months later the first production Corvette drove off the assembly line.
Thus a predecessor to Crompton contributed to the creation of an automotive icon. “All this honors Naugatuck and Crompton as pioneers in the plastics industry,” said Bill Hoover, registrar of the Glasspar G2 Club.